In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

We’re living in a society more polarized and intolerant than ever before; A society in which it’s hard to tell a joke, let alone disagree with someone. But to evolve and for this to change, we need principled insubordination, systematic rule-breaking, and people not afraid to engage with those who share different views. 

On today’s episode we have the pleasure of talking to Dr. Todd Kashdan, (Ph.D & Professor of Psychology at George Mason University), a leading authority on well-being, psychological flexibility, curiosity, courage, and resilience. 

Dr. Kashdan is the author of Curious? and The Upside of Your Dark Side, and his latest book is The Art of Insubordination: How to Dissent and Defy Effectively. His writing has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, National Geographic, Fast Company, among other publications, and his research is featured regularly in media outlets such as The Atlantic, The New York Times, NPR, and Time Magazine.

We discuss:

  • How to dissent / disagree effectively
  • Why we should seek & welcome alternative opinions 
  • The importance of comedy in combatting echo chambers
  • The right and WRONG way to change minds and behavior

Dr. Kashdan has published over 220 peer-reviewed articles and his work has been cited over 36,000 times. He received the Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year Award from George Mason University and Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions from the American Psychological Association. 

Connect with Dr. Kashdan:

Via his book: The Art of Insubordination 

Via his FREE newsletter:

Via his website:

Via Twitter: @toddkashdan

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Brett Bartholomew  0:11  

Hey, it’s Brett, I wanted to thank you whether you’re a new listener, or you’ve been with us for all 223 episodes. So far, we work really hard to bring you guys free, tactical, relatable and interesting content every single week. But we can’t do so without your help. For us to keep doing this show, we have to rely on sponsor support and donations from listeners like you. So please be sure to support our sponsors. These are more than just add. These are actual products, services, and people that we stand by, you can learn more about all of our sponsors, and the great discounts provided to you through them by going to Again, that’s And guys, collectively, all of these discounts can save you more than $500. 


Brett Bartholomew  0:58  

All right, today’s sponsor is Lumen. Lumen is a first of its kind, portable device and app that measures your metabolism in real time with just a breath. Think of it as a dietitian in your pocket, somebody that is not going to give you just guru advisor stuff they found off the internet, something that gives you unprecedented insight into how efficiently your body is optimized fats, and carbs. So you can have better control over your health and wellness. It is the very first metabolic tracking device available outside of research labs. That means it revolutionizes the way that you can approach weight loss, fitness or just healthy nutrition decision making in general. And if you guys are familiar with my backstory, you know that we hate things that are one size fits all, that is stuff that just doesn’t serve anybody it permeates the internet, you can’t have it. And so this will create in just moments create a personalized meal plan for your day. And it’ll take any of your dietary restrictions into account as well. Most of all, the science is legit. The Lumen was developed to measure metabolic fuel co2 via a handheld device. And a study by San Francisco State University tested the validity of the Lumen. And the results were crazy positive, it showed the validity of the lumen to estimate metabolic fuel utilization, in accordance with gold standard protocols. Guys, this is unparalleled. It’s one of those things that until you see it, you’re not really going to have the full comprehension of it. And when you use it, I’ll be honest, I was so ready to be just met with a gimmick, I turned it on barely took any time at all to charge, just did a couple breaths and outfit my recommendations, then I would take it on the road, I’d use it when I was sick. And I would see the variants that lined up with everything. And most importantly, we also saw it during different times of year when I was sweating like crazy in the summer of Georgia in the winter, and I would mess with it every single which way because we’re very protective about what we pitch to you guys. This is legit, and they will give you $35 Off to the first 100 people to use the code A O C again, that’s just AOC art of coaching AOC at checkout, so go to lumen, that’s Again, that’s lumen And make sure you get your $35 off. Check it out


Welcome to the Art of coaching Podcast. I’m Brett Bartholomew. And at a young age poor communication nearly cost me my life. Now, I help others navigate the gray area of social interaction, power dynamics and communication so they can become more adaptable leaders regardless of their profession, age or situation. This podcast is for everybody who is fascinated with solving people problems. So if you’re in the no nonsense type who appreciates frank conversations, advice you can put to use immediately and learning how others navigate the messy realities of leadership. You’re in the right place. I’m glad that you’re joining us let’s dive in


this is one you guys are gonna want to listen to more than once. There’s a lot of notes here. All of you know that we love to have guests on that pull no punches. We also like to have guests on that come from varied backgrounds, but we want them to have an informed approach and Today’s guest hits that mark, and so much more. We are joined by Dr. Todd Kashdan. He is a professor of psychology at George Mason University. He’s also a leading authority on well being psychological flexibility, curiosity, courage and resilience. He’s published over 220 peer reviewed articles. And his work has been cited over 36,000 times. He’s received the distinguished faculty member of the Year Award from George Mason University and distinguished scientific award for early career contributions from the American Psychological Association. He is the author of curious, the upside your dark side, and his latest book is The Art of insubordination how to dissent and defy effectively 


Now, it shouldn’t take much to know why we wanted to have him on the show. Art of coaching is about all things gray area, and I cannot wait for you to dive into this. So join me in welcoming Dr. Todd Kashdan.


Hey, everybody, welcome back to a conversation in the art of coaching podcast. I am here with Dr. Todd Kashdan. Todd, thanks for joining me.


Dr. Todd Kashdan  6:13  

Hey, great to be here.


Brett Bartholomew  6:15  

I have to say just right off the bat, we always like to start the show with the obvious you’re not the usual academic, right, like and I want to I know I’ll get some eye rolls when I hear when some people hear that. But you are just in, the moments before I talk to you very laid back very. I mean, do you have a ridiculous sense of humor? Of course, I’m making gross generalizations like most academics don’t. But let’s be real, right? Some stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. There are some rigid academics out there, you need to tell me a little bit about like, how did you fall into academia, somebody with your kind of persona, the personality you have the things you talk about? I mean, everything you research is not standard fare. I’d love to know a little bit more of like, why you felt like that was a fit for you professionally.


Dr. Todd Kashdan  6:56  

Yeah, I mean, we got along right away, as soon as we jumped into the Zoom call. I mean, I’m a New Yorker. So I think  that’s the key feature of everything we’re talking about. And when you grew up in the New York City streets in the 1980s, and you’re a latchkey kid, and you don’t know when your parents gonna come home, and you have access to liquor cabinet at 11 years of age, and those were back in the days where you had magazines come to your house under the brown paper bag. And if you think that my twin brother, and I didn’t open those paper bags to see what was in there, that’s somebody that has 0% curiosity. 


Academia is a very strange place, I think it is the canary in the coal mine. For every cultural problem in society, if you want to know what’s coming next 2027, just listen to a bunch of faculty members talk to each other in the lunch room. There are bad things coming for society. And my view is kind of like what you said to me before we jumped on, which is, every time I teach a class, I spent two classes about what the culture is going to be, which is, we are going to disagree with each other, you are going to not treat me as I’m like an expert or a guru or some master of knowledge, because because you’re 19 years old, and you probably only read Slaughterhouse Five in high school, because you had to, and you went online and found someone’s blog posts, and that’s all that you read about it, you will find holes in my arguments, because you don’t know the science yet. So I want to hear the holes. It’s not because I’m treating you as if you’re smarter or wiser than me, I’m treating you as if you have knowledge I don’t have because your perspective is different. As a young person who’s saying everything you say sounds like bunk as if you’ve never gone to a party, you’ve never been rejected, you’ve never been lonely. You’ve never taken over a room and made everyone laugh hilariously over a five course meal, and you’re just not cool. And with that perspective of some cool 22 year olds in my class, I want to hear from them. I don’t want to just hang out 47 year olds.


Brett Bartholomew  8:54  

Yeah. I mean, there’s a within that, and I appreciate the depth of that answer. There’s just this huge element of relatability that often gets lost in the ivory tower. You know, and I think not even that, like if we look broadly in today’s society, which is why I’m a big fan of your work. You know, we live in a world where people want to be told how to deal with the world as they’d like it to be, as opposed to dealing with it as it is. And that is, you know, like, one big refreshing piece for me, and we’re definitely gonna talk about your latest book. But I remember one of your earliest pieces of work was the upside of your dark side, which by the way, I owe you some royalties for because I have a presentation where we talk about, you know, certain aspects of Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, and how those can actually be beneficial contextually. Yeah, and that was just such a damn good title for your book that I lifted it for my PowerPoint. Now, don’t worry, you’re cited in anything that I do. But you know, like, that is a thing, right? Like we live in this society where everything seems to have to be like clean and sterile and there’s got to be a binary right and wrong answer. And people don’t know how to play in the gray. 


I mean, is that in your experience as well, I mean, I imagine that whether it deals with the politics of being a part of academia Got oranges in your personal life and being a New Yorker, right? That’s a city where, you know, you’re gonna get docked if you don’t know what you’re doing and how to navigate it all. Like, where is this all falling short? Or where do you think a lot of this narrative comes from? The narrative of naivete today, so to speak. I know it’s broad. So if I can be more specific, let me know,


Dr. Todd Kashdan  10:18  

no, no, I’m with you. I mean, the only thing I would add to your to your statement is the notion that we put people into bins of good versus evil based on single five second snapshots of people’s behavior. And this is basically preventing us from having lots of adult friendships with people that are last because most of the most interesting people that you meet in life, they face a crucible, right they had some horrendous situation in terms of a fistfight. They had, you know, a motorcycle accident, they ended up getting drunk and falling off the cliff of route one highway in California. I mean, these are the people that you want to hang out with. You don’t want to hang out with people who are sort of similar crumbs like me who are sitting home, absorbing a lot of literature, watch a lot of podcasts. One of the reasons why we are so inclined to label people as good or bad, or have this really allergic reaction to negative emotions, such as anger, and envy. And jealousy is because our brains are like these really big, you know, 85 year old curmudgeon miserly things that sit on top of her head, and they want to use as little energy as possible, because they want to save it for a rainy day when you’re walking by herself in, you know, in Old Town, San Juan in Puerto Rico, and you hear footsteps, you want to have enough cognitive resources leftover that you can tell, are they walking faster towards me? Are they heavy steps of a muscular man? Do I feel like I’m in danger? And then can I give myself a center of gravity and figure out what’s a weapon as I’m walking down the streets by myself, your brain is saving for that it’s not saving energy for you just to have a really good conversation and have a fun time on a surfboard. It’s actually saying, Don’t go on the surfboard because you’re going to die. don’t have a conversation with someone strange, because as a foreigner, they might have some illness from their country that’s unlike your own. That’s why we tend to be xenophobic. And so we are trained by our 1.5 million years of evolution in our brains to hang out with like minded people, and really loathe people that are different from us.


Brett Bartholomew  12:24  

Yeah, I think that’s a good point. And you think about it from the sense of just cognitive ease, right? And I almost feel like there’s been a million books written about it at this point, in terms of the world wants to get rid of, we want to get rid of biases, we want to get this but we’re not going to people are always going to be bias to a degree. Right and like, and it’s this fine line, right? It’s this fine line between we know that there’s some stereotypes, and even archetypes that are wrong or misguided, but at the same time, there are also common themes and motifs, right? Like I know, you use the term archetype in your book, The Art of insubordination. We talked about it a lot in art of coaching. And I remember one time, I just got raked over the coals of somebody saying, you know, you are being judgmental, and they even call me racist for talking about archetypes. And I said, no timeout, if you’ve watched a movie, there’s a hero, there’s a villain, if you’ve got on Facebook, you know, there’s a person that post pictures of their food and their cat, if you go to the airport, you know that there’s somebody that always ends up over packing their damn bag, then they’ve gone over the weight limit. And at the last minute, when you’re late for the flight, they’ve got to re you know, put things from one back end, like these things exist, because patterns in the world exists. And so like, you know, I think this is more of a conversation point than a question that I’d like you to jump in on is where do you find that balance of okay, we can understand that some biases, heuristics, are in the way that we think are faulty. But at the other point, we’ve got to realize that we’ve got to learn to live with them, because some of them are pretty true. And even ourselves, right? What did you say when we first got on this? You said, man, you’re one of the first podcasters that looks like he actually works out. And so I would insinuate that, you know, and I know you’re cracking a joke, but like, I totally understood what you mean, oh, there’s a lot of people that just like, don’t take care of themselves. And is that mean? Or is that just true based on your experience? So you know, feel free to jump in? If 


Dr. Todd Kashdan  14:06  

Yeah, yeah. So let me play with the noncontroversial examples of exactly what you’re talking about. And this is why I’m interested in dysfunctional norms in society. So a plate in a controversial way, where you think about who are school shooters over the course of the past 35 years since Columbine, and it’s a very clear archetype. We know it tends to be a adolescent teenage male who’s white happens there and you have a few outliers, there’s about one or two outliers to happen there. And so that doesn’t fit with the narrative that we want to play with. But if you’re thinking about predicting who’s the next person to go in with with, you know, serious artillery into a school, you better be thinking about loneliness bullied, white male, and then keep yourself flexible from deviations from that heuristic. 


Now on another end of thinking about these thinks you can think about who’s a terrorist that’s potentially going to go into a plane, you rarely see a white teenage male with weapons that goes onto a plane that ends up hijacking a plane. If you think about everything as a trade off, then it gets easier to work with. So there’s no clear answer of how to deal with. It’s a great question, Brett. But when you bring the US Marshals in to decide how are we going to reduce violence on planes to near zero, they have to start with heuristics and say, Okay, who has the highest probability, which is not 100%, but it’s not 0%. Work with them. And what I would argue in terms of strategy for the US Marshals, police officers, and first line responders is don’t make this public. You should be using biases, you shouldn’t be using stereotypes, hold them loosely, that’s like your first shitty draft when you’re writing a book. So that you have there. So work with that start with Okay, we’re gonna push away the moms of three and four year olds beside for right now for thinking there. And then as you said, if you see somebody’s acting strangely, with their bags, and what they’re bringing to the airport, then you start to ask a few questions, and you ask some really unusual question to see if you can throw them off. I remember when I was in Israel before the pandemic and I was in is it Ben Gurion Airport? 


So Ben Gurion Airport, we can learn so much if we weren’t so ethnocentric another dysfunctional norm in our airports. What they do there is they interview everybody, they have, a bunch of people tend trained in behavioral psychology. I had a one o’clock in the morning flight, it is 12:30am in Tel Aviv, and I’m in the airport. And this guy comes up to me and says, Hey, so where are you going? And just had just curiosity? It’s a very strange second question to ask somebody. But what’s your grandfather’s middle name? And I had no freaking clue. He didn’t care what the answer was, because later I kind of asked him, I’m like, hey, I want to know about deconstruct what you just did back there. He wanted to see how I responded. And we know this, like this stuff exists. But because in the United States, we are very uncomfortable with that level of approach that assumption of, I’m skeptical, until proven otherwise, to trust you that we deviate from best practices for how to reduce violence and aggression at airports. And the same thing happens for hiring and organizations. And the same thing happens for admissions and colleges. And you can keep on going down the list because we’re not willing to go into dark, strange places, we limit the reservoir of creative ideas, and thus, we have less creative solutions, 


Brett Bartholomew  17:34  

great phrasing, and we’re gonna get into the adjacent possible and some of those creative solutions in a bit. And I like what you said, there, we’re scared to go into those dark places. In a project I’m working on right now, one of the lines that you know, and I probably shouldn’t like it, because I hate most of my own work. But there was one line in this whole, like, 8000 word essay that I had written, it was like, you know, we’re often told not to talk to strangers. No wonder we don’t know ourselves very well, because people don’t put themselves in these situations, right? Where like, even learning how most learning is taking place. It’s not experiential, right? Like, you have people that can read a million books, but they never apply it and they don’t want to kind of face their own blood metaphorically. And I think one thing that’s interesting to note, too, is, you know, in my experience, since you and I are just getting to know each other. So in the interest of self disclosure, you know, the archetype stuff from from our standpoint came from when I worked predominantly with athletes, you know, you get athletes from a wide variety of backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds, whatever. And, you know, certain people would always pick Oh, this guy’s not a hard worker this, wait a minute, he’s not a hard worker, because he doesn’t enjoy squatting 300 pounds at six in the morning. You know what I mean? That person is very different contextually on the field, when they’re doing something they love, right? Or I used to get a lot of athletes send to me that were you know, the that guys not really coachable, kind of a pain in the ass. Is he a pain in the ass Did he not just really get to know what drives them? And then you say things like that. They’d be like, Well, I don’t have time I got this and that, well, you’re a coach, aren’t you? You know what I mean? So you better figure out and make that time 


And I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder just because I was hospitalized at a young age. And, you know, I was in this hospital for a year. And they would always say, Oh, you’re not responding to the treatment program. You’re problematic. Bah, bah, bah, bah, blah. It’s like no, you just didn’t take the time you tried to get to know me as a symptom not as a patient. But as we extrapolate, and we look at it and I’d be curious, in your, your thoughts on this to those stereotypes, biases, archetypes, anything don’t just exist with how we view people. It’s also environments, right. So I what I mean by this is I have a friend, and he’s a coach at a university and they want him to be this rah rah guy get up. Yeah, you know, most militaristic. Now, that’s not how he is. But that environment skews high on some of the power brokers just saying, This is how we’re going to run this culture here. And so when he’s sitting here saying, like, Hey, I’m burning out a little bit every day, I gotta go to work and I can’t be the best version of myself because I got to fit into that environment. And I started experimenting. I’m like, Alright, if we could code for this one to five being five and basic likert right five being very high one Being very low. What’s What’s the political feel of this place? He’s like, Oh, very Doggy Dog, they’ll stab you in the back, that would be a five. And I’m like, Okay, and what do you feel like in terms of just like, the hierarchy there? And he’s like, Well, this is how we kind of Power Map. And this is why I have to answer to. And the point was, I was trying to say, Who can you be yourself around in this environment? And he’s like, really nobody, because you never know who’s going to. 


So the point with that is, you know, in what area that those things that can serve us, do you think if people were more aware of, you know, their environment in that sense as well, that could help them be a little bit more socially agile, contextually adept, because people are so worried about being their authentic self, in every situation that they don’t always realize that. Well, that should be a little bit more malleable. Where do you stand on that?


Dr. Todd Kashdan  20:44  

Yeah, so there’s a lot there. Yeah. No, no, that’s really cool. rabbit holes go into that. So I would play with two areas. One is that I mean, I’m basically individual differences researcher, and I view the way that we approach diversity is so simplistic that we’re not appreciating the variables that matter the most are often ones we don’t even have the English language to describe. And I’ll give you an example. That fits was because we do some sports psychology with the well being lab, as well, we work with the Australian Institute for sports. So who are the up and coming Olympians for Australia? No hate mail from from people from the US. I just go wherever, whoever is gonna pay me in height. And so what you know, one of the things that we discovered is, there are these people that are called defensive pessimists. And they basically are anxious, they’re willy nilly. They’re super neurotic. They’re it’s contagious, they make you nervous as being around them.


Brett Bartholomew  21:42  

All right, we are nearly halfway through 2022. And that means there’s only a handful more chances for you to make it to one of our live events and workshops for this year. Whether you’re a coach, a leader, entrepreneur, human behavior nerd, or somebody who simply knows how valuable the people part of what we do is, please be sure to go to for upcoming locations and dates. We have something for everyone. And all of our events are intimate. We believe in smaller groups, more hands on and they are open to every profession, something I have to answer a lot and it’s okay. But we have some folks that think that just because I was a strength coach for over 15 years, they wonder is this stuff just for strength coaches? No, nothing at is solely for strength coaches, we are a leadership development company. I just happen to start as a strength and conditioning coach. We have had members of the medical community, the technology community, we have had teachers, we have had members of the Highway Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we have had people that are still in college. These are open to lifelong learners of any kind, any age, any nationality, any interest level, any budget. We offer early bird discounts, discounts for those who have taken our online courses and pass them. And also payment plans. I know what it is like to be on a budget, we own a small family owned a business, both of my wife and I did unpaid internships we’ve had to scratch and claw, we get it. 


Now, if a live events are not your flavor, and you’re looking for mentoring, maybe from abroad or afar, be sure to check out our Coalition program. We only do this twice a year. And the final program for 2022 is about to close in terms of applications, it will start in July. So applications are open. Now you can learn more at All in all guys, the coalition is something I put together when I was struggling to find a group of people who are driven really to accomplish more, and wanted a think tank of fellow professionals to bounce ideas off of I just got out on my own. I had released my book conscious coaching, there were a million ideas I wanted to chase. And it was tough to really know who I could trust and find a place that really just fit with me and my interests. So we created a community of learning and a community of accountability. And I think you’ll really enjoy it


Also, it doesn’t matter where you live. We have had folks from Norway to New Zealand, as a part of it. We work with your schedule to find times that suit your life and like all of our stuff. It is open to any profession, any age. If you’re still in the phase of dipping your toe in the water, and maybe you’re not ready for mentoring yet or a live event and you want something simpler still, you can find my book conscious coaching on Amazon worldwide and more at Conscious coaching really started at all but so much of our work is an evolution of that. i The last thing I wanted to do was write a book, then do an online course on that book, then do workshops on that book. I wanted our work to evolve. So conscious coaching is just a starting point. The podcast is just a starting point. All of our most in depth stuff you can find in our live events, our mentoring, and we’d love to see You there, again, Thank you so much back to the show.


Dr. Todd Kashdan  25:14  

You know, one of the things that we discovered is, there are these people that are called defensive pessimists. And they basically are anxious. They’re willy nilly. They’re super neurotic. it’s contagious. They make you nervous as being around them. They’re the type of people that wrestling coaches tell you never cross your legs, they stand there with their feet crossed, and they’re awkward. They’re leaning to his side. They’re constantly worried about everything that can go wrong. And they steal the cohesion and the positivity of meeting to say, Yeah, but you know what the thing is? Do we really know those resources are coming? I mean, have we thought about that? If it was inflation goes up, and replacement goes down? How are we gonna do this differently, everyone’s just like, chill. 


But here’s the thing. defensive pessimists. They’re super annoying, kind of like what your friend experience in his work culture. And what we know about them scientifically, is that these are individuals that aren’t expecting negative outcomes, they are hoping for the best, they brace for the worst. And they’re constantly thinking about seven or eight different things that can go wrong, they’re worried about them. And here’s where it gets really cool if you do an intervention, to make them more tranquil and calm. So meditation, yoga, visualization of positive experiences, mastery intervention, where you have them think about all the things they’ve accomplished in the past, spot their strengths, recognize their strengths, use them in new ways, any of those strategies, makes them produce worse outcomes in the group. And the reason is, they need their anxiety, they harnessed their anxiety as fuel to help them with problem solving. 


If you can’t appreciate that some of the anxious people that drive you freaking crazy, they have superpowers. And you’re basically stealing them by ignoring them, icing them and push them to the side, the group becomes weaker than the sum of its parts, because you’re not getting their problem solving skills. They’re sitting right there. And you’re skipping over them to hang out with all the people that will nod their heads and agree with you. And I think this is important, not just for honoring defensive pessimists, who hope for the best embrace the worst, but what personality traits do you have an allergic reaction to that are actually exactly what the group needs, even though you might not be best friends and find the person likeable? And we put likability on too high of a pedestal. When we’re talking about sports, and groups, and organizations and societies. You know, remember what I don’t know if you if you remember when it was Bush Gore, that the big conversation was, who would you want to drink a beer with? And it was, one of the biggest predictors of who people would vote for. And I would say, I don’t, I will have nothing to do with you. I don’t care. I’m like, get the job done. Be super annoying on television, be super annoying the news, just keep on delivering. And so I have more food and more money in my bank account. And people are content and we’re not at war, and you can be the biggest prick humanly possible. And there’s so much obsessiveness about likability and that’s, you know, there’s this great work that shows that the best entrepreneurs are right in the middle point of a scale of between being cantankerous to being agreeable and kind. And it’s worth remembering that if you remember one thing about this conversation,


Brett Bartholomew  28:38  

yeah, well, I appreciate you signposting that. And I mean, like you said, with me, there’s a lot there that I want to dive into, I have to be wary of confirmation bias, because a lot of what you said is just is really what we believe in. And we try not to honestly choose guests based on that we try to just, if we have any bias whatsoever, it’s guests that play in the gray. And I love what you said about you know, you’ve got to put it first of all, just going into that category of individual much like you have, and I want to point people to and we’ll put it in the show notes as well, we have a quiz on our website, and you kind of described what we would call like a security drive somebody that they’re always kind of, you know, they’re like, what’s gonna go wrong? They’re almost going to always start with a pre mortem. They’re storing acorns right now why there’s conversations happening, you know, and of course, nobody’s linear so they also met with a little bit of like an adversity drive. I love what you have you have a free quiz on your website called the rebel archetype quiz. And this is where I’m gonna have a problem with you is because you’re an intellectual, but you’re also pretty good marketer with the way that you’ve raised these that these are just wonderful. And I took it last night I had some of my colleagues take it and what


Dr. Todd Kashdan  29:41  

Wait I’m going to predict what you are. 


Brett Bartholomew  29:43  

Well, yeah, yeah. All right. Go ahead. Give it a go. 


Dr. Todd Kashdan  29:45  



Brett Bartholomew  29:47  

Yeah, try again, 


Dr. Todd Kashdan  29:49  



Brett Bartholomew  29:49  

I mean, there you go innovator and 


Dr. Todd Kashdan  29:52  

I just wanted to 


Brett Bartholomew  29:52  

ya know, and that’s the fun of it. Right is like you’re really right both ways. Because like, depending on where am I at? I was As in Greece on vacation, I might skew one way. Now I’m here, you know, and in my business, I’m very much i love how you mentioned, you know the benefits of things like anxiety. I mean, shit, my whole business is built on anxiety and you know how any event our audience comes to any podcasts they listen to, I’m always thinking, what would make people hate this or turn it off? And that makes me more prepared to hopefully hook them to make it good. I mean, even with you, we asked you when you come on, what is something that you wish more people asked you? Because I know what it’s like to feel like you know, not empty, but you do a podcast, you slate that time. And that person talked about whatever they want to talk about. And then you know, you’re kind of you don’t really always get to say what you want to say. And so I think those things are wonderful. But would you mind elaborating on that quiz a little bit, what made you create it one. And if you want to give a little bit of an overview, I know there’s innovators, culture shifters, defenders niche Carver’s and don’t don’t feel compelled to go over all of them. I want to honor your time. And there’s so many things I want to ask you. But at the same time, I just thought this was a wonderful quiz. so have at it.


Dr. Todd Kashdan  30:59  

Well, thank you for all the kind remarks that are built in there. And I’m gonna just go back to why I think you’re so everybody has a profile, right? So you make these quizzes, the only way to make them functional is you got to have to choose which one ends up being the dominant one at the time. Here’s why Brett, I think you’re a defender just listening to you talk about your friend in the workplace is you’re kind of like the infantry of your friends is my guess, which is that if there is a problem where people are talking smack about a person, and you happen to be in the present, you’re gonna stop that conversation. Like, listen, if you have an issue with Jake and Jessica, you should be talking to them face to face, you could deal with the issues right there. And the idea that you’re poisoning the air that they live in, because they happen to be absent today. I sort of have a problem with that. And I get a feeling like that’s not the way you want to live. I feel like you’re the guy. That would be the one that would stand up as the minority of one. And basically, like, let’s not talk smack about someone unless they’re there. Now, after we have that conversation, let’s have fun and gossip. And also like, you know, events of being like there’s a problem in a restaurant and someone will let people in because of you know, they don’t have reservation, I feel like you’re gonna be the guy to get up there. And listen, let me go handle this and talk about this and make sure we get in there. I got a feeling that that’s you.


Brett Bartholomew  32:09  

Yeah, well, I mean, part of me one just because I don’t have time for bullshit. I mean, that was the benefit of nearly losing my life at a young age, you just really realize what you care about what you don’t. And then, you know, I don’t like anything that like I very much of live like I’m already 99. And so anything that I just think is a waste of time, waste of energy or rate, like, let’s get to the bigger picture of things. Is this really what we want to spend our energy on? You know, and I think that you’re right, let me hedge it with that. You’re right. And but that also is what I think gave me that innovator result as well as I’ve spent a lot of my life hearing people say what they think is possible, what they think is right, what they think is wrong. And I also know what it’s like to be a consumer and feel let down when I spent my time and money on something that didn’t deliver. And so that coincides with not liking bullshit. So then I’m like, alright, well, I’m pretty self competitive. If I don’t like what that person is doing, then I better do it better. And I always have just the right amount of self hate to know that I probably fail at that a lot. But at least I try man. Yeah. And so what category is somebody who is only or most highly attracted to others who put skin in the game and put their money where their mouth is?


Dr. Todd Kashdan  33:16  

Oh, I mean, I mean, that’s where that would be the defender as well. I mean, the defender is one where justice is the core value. And that can manifest itself a number of ways and part of justice is you get just desserts based on the equitable contribution that you put in. And so as long as you are actually bleeding and working out and preparing and doing your homework, you’ll give someone the benefit of the doubt because of the effort expenditure, especially if they do it without your intentional motivation to push them. I mean, that’s just like, it’s kind of like Bitdefender likes people that are coachable in the realm of sports and in organizations, which is, if I give you feedback, do I have to follow up with that six months later and give you the same feedback? Or am I going to see a transform person that’s at least going to make an attempt and modifying their personality? Or do you have sufficient lack of respect for me that my feedback doesn’t matter? And you were too obsequious that you would even tell me that you don’t respect my opinion or explain why. 


So the defender that’s the defender the defender is cares about people that you get justice in some parts of some justices you protect against sexism, racism, ageism, and some part of justices Listen, you’re not deserving of these cash, prizes, promotions and rewards because you haven’t put the effort in. And there’s a lovely appreciation of meritocracy which has a bad word right now, in society. You know, my favorite of the four which is not me, is the niche Carver because most principled rebels are fighting for something that’s a contribution above and beyond the self. But the niche Carver gets underappreciated, which is that my life does not match to is what society values, what they’re kind of focusing on what you’re seeing on television and movies. And I want to live my life my own way. And this will not detract from anyone else’s well being. And my favorite example of that happened during the pandemic is these people that chose van life. And a lot of people gave them flak of, you know, it’s like, you think you’re still 18, and you could travel cross country, you don’t want responsibility. And the way I viewed it as there’s a level of innovation here as well, which is, is there a reason that I have to be routed to one place, especially when we know one of the shortcuts to creativity, and innovative and imaginative thinking is traveling and meeting new people with new perspectives. So if you’re living in the same place, and playing pickleball, with the same people in the neighborhood, day after day, versus the person with Van life, which is traveling, you know, into the south and talking to, you know, coal miners from West Virginia, and then hanging out with farmers in Nebraska, and then hanging out with, you know, a bunch of people that are, you know, streetwalkers in San Francisco, your journey of discovering like, what works and what doesn’t, is going to be so stressed tested compared to the person that’s living in their own neighborhood. 


And so it’s you have to figure out, what outcomes do I want, what will work for me, and in a similar vein, about the niche Carver, we are, you know, Brett, we’re like the first generation that realizes that you don’t have to have be married to one person in the same household and spend seven days a week with them. And you know, and Nick, your kids your entire life, there are people now that are experimenting of their marriage, but they’re living in different houses or apartments, because they realize to keep the kindle the passion alive, they’re going to have each other once a week, and it works. And they’ve agreed to it. And there’s a level of trust. And honestly, that comes in that you’ve got, the latest number was 11% of the population is experimenting with polyamory of having multiple partners now, and part of polyamory, which I’m not a part of, by the way, so I’m not trying to make an advertisement or is that everyone is on board of agreeing of you know, what, maybe we’re not designed to have one partner for 85 years of our lives. And so to prevent having problems of having other people will bring other people in, and we’ll share as much or as little as people want that happen there. That experimentation is like the first time in, like 1500 years that people are playing with that and with relationships. And then the notion of, you know, in terms of niche Carver for gay marriage to actually, in 20 years, it is the greatest emblematic example of a principled movement that current social activists can learn from, for 2000 years a marriage between a man and a woman to have that change in a 20 year period during the gay liberation movement in the 70s and 80s. We should be deconstructing that. And current social activists could learn that they are doing so many things wrong, that they just look back and deconstruct a history and see, there’s better strategies. I mean, one of the things that the gay liberation movement did is they were really sarcastic, playful and funny. And if there’s anything that you don’t see, in the current environment, if it’s whether it was the horrible Occupy Wall Street movement that went nowhere, the Black Lives Matter movement that fizzled out the 1692 project I don’t remember the exact year, which actually should know that, that created a much more adversarial responses than necessary. You got the truckers in Ottawa that had nothing but hatred, because all the hospitals, their blood banks went to near zero and a bunch of people died in hospitals, for them fighting for mask mandates. 


And so all of these movements, so when you to answer your question, how did it come up before archetypes, I spent 6 years studying history over the course of 400 years of what makes rebellious movements work? What makes them fail? And what are the lessons we can learn from them. And I found these four archetypes of types of rebels.


Brett Bartholomew  39:04  

Well, and you look at this, and you brought up a lot of things I want to touch base on. You know, I wonder what your opinion is on, you know, the feminist movement that you continually see kind of take different forms now to there’s a great article, and I don’t remember where I always say when you have to say there was a great article, and then I don’t remember where I read it, but I’m in the middle of my daughter right now. And you read just a lot of different things, and it kind of comes in and out. But they’re talking about that that’s something that, you know, how do I phrase this, they were talking about, you know, there can be approaches to any of these movements, like you’re saying that there are if you’re not, if you don’t know your audience, you don’t time it, you don’t frame it, the communication fails a little bit, you kind of fall victim to the very thing that you’re trying to achieve. And the article was making the point that a lot of times people that are really trying to go for, you know, more gender equality or kind of the new feminism movement. They’re like, they’re trying to use the same kind of power games that really males utilize to kind of get in that position. And we know that you don’t I mean, this is at all kind of thing, right? Like if you want to influence people, generally indirect approaches are best, especially if you can make them think it’s their own idea. But the more you just kind of use for force is very different than influence. 


And so it’s interesting because there’s so many talks about his history. You look at some of the most influential people in history. I know we hear a lot about men, but the master class teachers, were people like Cleopatra, were women. I mean, they’re powerbrokers like you look at even Winston Churchill’s wife, Clemmie, right, you look at all these things. And so it is fascinating when somebody starts a movement no matter what the cause, it’s like, alright, let’s think about how we can power map this out, isn’t going to win by force. And then let’s say you achieve what you want, well, you got to be careful, because what you did to get there, you got to make sure that’s sustainable, because now that’s what you’re going to have to leverage to stay on top. And it’s just very interesting how people look at things like influence and behavior change. And they forget that, you know, even if you’re trying to change an individual’s behavior, that’s right next to you, most of the time, they’re not going to change based on words, or some kind of unique intervention, they’re going to change when their context changes when their environment changes, when it becomes kind of like, hey, now I’ve got to meet the fit for my environment. I mean, I can look at my father type two diabetic, doesn’t exercise, right? He’s one of those guys that comes from the generation of like, just life was exercise. So why the hell would I do anything extra? But guess what, if I put my dad in a room where the only option is stairs, and he needs to get a bed is asked is going up the stairs? So I just think it’s interesting how people, you know, you think of what can help us change behavior? Yes, it can be the words we use, but it’s also environment, the other social factors that are around us, whether that’s the media, whether that’s our peers, anything like that timing from historical perspective, or anything else. 


Can you give me an example, despite all your knowledge, all your knowledge about human beings, their unique idiosyncrasies, right? You seem very self aware, everything you know about history, everything you know about research? Where is there an area where you’re just a stubborn ass, and you don’t change? And even you, like, sometimes need to be ripped out of your own neighborhood a little bit? Because we all have them right? Or


Dr. Todd Kashdan  42:04  

Damn That’s a really good question. I think where I am, tend to be very stubborn is I tend to believe that parents have less influence on kids, and I think they do. 


Brett Bartholomew  42:19  

Do you have kids?


Dr. Todd Kashdan  42:21  

I’ve got three daughters. So I’ve got twin 15 year old daughters and a nine year old. And I am really strong proponent of the research that shows that, you know, the the non shared environment do unique individual things that parents do are much as a very small contribution compared to genetics and the environment for your kids. And so when it comes to things, such as corporal punishment used in kind of very strategic ways, or if it comes to how much you read to your kid, or how many books are on your shelves, I tend to be pretty stubborn about this is that if you’re the type of person that obsess about all the specific things you should be doing for your kids, your kids going to be fine. If you’re worried about your kids health, well being career aspirations and their friendships, and you’re thinking about, what should I be doing? Am I showing enough compassion? Am I spending enough time with them? Am I going to enough of their sporting events? Am I pushing them too hard to go to the sporting events? And you’re thinking about this and you’re asking questions, your kid is probably fine. And really doesn’t matter what you do. It’s just that you’re present and you are actually considering


Brett Bartholomew  43:27  

You engage in that. 


Dr. Todd Kashdan  43:29  

Yeah. And so I tend to be kind of stubborn about that, you know, all these parenting books come out. And all this research pops in and, and I just, it’s hard for me to shake that belief that it doesn’t matter too much. As long as if you are centered on contemplating your kid’s well being you’re going to be a pretty damn good parent. And it doesn’t take much to be a good dad because the bar is so damn low. Because so many adult men put their work and their male friendships above their kids, even though they say they don’t you can just observe their behavior of how many times they show up at the sports bar.


Brett Bartholomew  44:02  

Yeah, well, and I think this is why your work and particularly your new book, The Art of insubordination, is interesting to me, especially because as I mentioned before the podcast, right, a lot of our audience are current leaders, emerging leaders from a people of a variety of fields. And the one thing they despise is kind of just a leadership BS stuff that sounds good, but doesn’t always play well in the sandbox, and that is their daily life. And so you know, when I remember like, when I first learned about your book, and it coincided nicely with I think your previous work, right, you use the term rebels a lot. And I always thought about this because I tell our staff, you know, you have to think of our audience like underdogs, or you know, outcasts or really anti heroes, right? These are people that like me and imagine like you, we’ve missed up to like, heaven forbid if any of us ever ran for president right? They’re gonna find plenty right as we’re not perfect. And here you are, like you wrote this book and said, Hey, this is a guide. It’s research backed and it’s practical to help people essentially kinda like this, learn how you know  they can change, they can make an impact, because change doesn’t come easily. You know, I just think like, I’m a big advocate of whether it’s terms like manipulation, influence power or in your case insubordination. People don’t look at the other side of the coin. So can you talk to me about the impetus or the inciting incident that made you write this book? And whether I’m even right? Is it speaking to those kinds of people? Did I get it wrong? Because I want to honor your work and talk about it a little bit?


Dr. Todd Kashdan  45:28  

Yeah, I mean, really, I’m interested in all the angles. I’m interested in those people in the audience when they hear ideas that diverge from the mainstream, how quickly do you end up being cynical, as opposed to healthy skepticism and curious and exploring and have the attitude kind of like the question you asked before, which is, what am I stubborn about? Well, that’s the area where I show a lack of intellectual humility. And we don’t have to necessarily go through our days picking up all the spots where we’re intellectually humble, we have to have the perspective that you have less knowledge about the world than you think you do. And other people have knowledge that you don’t have access to unless you extract it from them. So there’s the audience, there’s the rebels. And then really, this book actually isn’t about rebels or insubordination at all, this is really about how do you create a more utopian society, and the greatest safeguard against conformity mistakes of doing too much what the orthodoxy is saying you should do. The protector against that is the permission for dissent. And one of the cool things about this is you don’t have to agree with the dissenter. And the dissenter could be stupid and be wrong about what they’re saying. And still, everyone has better ideas. 


I’ll give you an example. A friend of mine is a nutritionist. And she created a podcast. And I was on a call, just helping her out to kind of raise her metrics. And I said, Hey, by the way, this is not my nutrition is not really my area at all. But have you thought about interviewing 4an astronaut because I saw him interviewed before because if you think about the food required for an astronaut, I wonder they’re thinking of, you don’t get to go to a supermarket, whatever that you get, you get you can’t be upset. And it’s really like underlined, bolded, italicized dogeared, if you’re in space, and she’s like, No, I never thought about that. And that led to them saying, Hey, should we like interview someone from like Polynesia? Who’s like living off of like, you know, $4,000, like annual income? And should we be getting someone who’s like, starving and have like some disease in India, and then should we be getting some, and all of a sudden, just that stupid comment about having an astronaut lead people to kind of think more strangely about, maybe we shouldn’t be getting people that are knowledgeable about nutrition, but people that have different approaches to how they’re eating. And we can kind of dissect, and we’ll see where the conversation goes. And that’s like an example of how dissent operates, which is that you don’t, you might think that’s absurd to get an astronaut on the air. But I set off a different track, have conversations, and in there is going to be some nugget. And maybe the only nugget that occurs is you know what, after talking to Todd, listen to everyone’s bizarre ideas, I’m actually even more confident we were on the right path beforehand. And here’s why. So you actually have now tested your ideas with a little bit of dissent and realize, I can now argue better, why these alternative ideas aren’t good. 


And if we don’t allow that, we get to these very constrained reservoirs of possibilities. And that’s where you have, you know, the anti enlightenment periods where nothing benefits and I want to go back to your example of feminism, of, you know, where is it going off the rails, what strategies are they using? That’s problematic right now? It’s, to me, it’s really simple. Do you view the other 50% of the population as, potential allies or adversaries? And so anyone that’s a feminist or feminist adjacent, that’s listening right now, if you talked about toxic masculinity, and if you talk about how men are the problem, and if you talk about how men are the most dangerous thing in society right now, as if we’re this homogenous group of evil characters waiting for a situation so we can, you know, stroke our cat in our lap and cause more damage to women in the world. You’ve lost your potential allies and protectors and and people that are interested in the issue. 


The first thing you should be doing is thinking, Okay. The question is, to what degree is feminism, the in opposition with masculinity and men? So you have to first address that question. And if you want to attack men, listen, there’s plenty of men, there’s plenty of women that should be attacked for their behavior, motives and antics. But how much should it be in public of publicly shaming people? And how do you think they’re going to change their behavior if they give no opportunity to actually save face and alter themselves? As opposed to looking like someone that relented and flip flops, like, if you understand human behavior, you know, this comes from Sharon brims research 1967, she calls it, it’s good to have a term for these things, psychological reactance. Basically, if you push me into a corner and say, I’m a horrible person, as a white male, heterosexual, who’s 47 years of age, and you ignore every other feature of my life, ignore the fact that I was raised by a single mom ignore the fact that my mom died when I was 12. Because you’re not taking any information whatsoever. Everybody’s got a story of their crucible and adversity. And you push me into a corner to tell me that why should you be writing a book about you’re not a marginalized group? What are you writing? What are you talking about dissent and defy which is what I’ve heard from some readers. And what happens is, it doesn’t make you say, oh, you know, what, let me actually volunteer my time, and spend time with marginalized groups to train them, for the average person, not me, when you shove them in the corner, they’re gonna come out and scratch your eyeballs out and scratch your skin off. And you’ve now what you transform a potential ally into an adversary. And I would say at the broad level, this is the problem with feminism that’s occurring in an era of public humiliation in social media with the intentional approach to getting attention, as opposed to getting movement for women to get more rights, freedoms and flexibility in their lives, which is what we should be caring about.


Brett Bartholomew  51:26  

Yeah, well put, I mean, everything from you know, if you are going to if you are going to get in an argument and these things like you spot on, you need to give somebody a golden bridge to retreat across at least and by I mean, context is common ground. Right. And for you to say like, because I felt that as well, we haven’t talked about it much on the podcast. I feel like we’ve talked about damn near everything else in the 200 Plus episodes. But you’re right. I mean, I told my wife this the other day I go when it gets to the point where I feel like I almost have to like apologize for being a white male, you know, especially like, I was one credit short of t have a degree in women’s studies. I have no issue with any of these men’s whatsoever. I do have an issue when like you said, it’s like we’re trying to gain something by treating you like a like an adversary. It’s like no, you winning doesn’t mean I lose, right, this nonzero sum. Do you remember that movie? The rival? I know some Movie? I thought there was a wonderful example of that, right? Like how human beings just have to see things as a zero sum game. No, it’s not. there’s plenty. And plus, it doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to think about differences. You know, all you do then is create the suffering of Olympics. You know what I mean? Like, okay, well, I shouldn’t write a book on this. Well, guess what, there’s plenty of opportunities for other people that write a book, you know, they say, Well, no, there’s not, you know, beyond the point. Fuck that, you know, like, there are plenty of self published authors around the world that get it done, you hear about stories of somebody that grew up in South Africa, poor dealt with apartheid, all that now they’re the leading neurosurgeon at some hospital, just like you hear about people that have golden spoons in their mouth. And guess what, they got addicted to sleeping pills and Chardonnay. And it’s just like, everybody’s got their shit. But what does this do? 


And so like, that’s where like, I’m a big fan of what you say of like, alright, we got to think of best practices to increase creativity of thought, and relatability. And by embracing dissent, and I want to get some of your thoughts on that in the moment, I think, you know, our measly way of trying to do that is we created this thing called the apprenticeship, right? And when I started out in sports performance, all these conferences, Todd, were always just strength coaches, strength coaches, and performance coaches, and everybody wanted to argue about, well, this speed drills the best and this way to do this in the weight room is the best as if these things weren’t like, if there weren’t many roads to Rome, right? We know that there’s many ways to get people stronger, fitter, blah, blah, blah. And then I’d go to other conferences and realize, wow, there’s a lot more people here, there’s an amalgamation of professions represented. So when we kind of crossed over and got in the leadership space, we said, You know what, we’re gonna do improv based workshops that include a mix of like hard hitting role playing, like real life, real shit, but also some improv adapted theatrical games to bring levity and fun to encourage divergent thinking and a little bit of dissent. Because there’s times where people come into these. And you know, they’re like, Hey, I’m having a fight with my boss, cool. 39 year old black man might play her boss, and then somebody else plays a different role. And we get them right into the heat of the moment. And these things get they evoke an emotional reaction. And everybody evaluates themselves because we got to account for bias, right? You might say, Hey, I thought I did. I thought it was a three in assertiveness. I thought I was a one in terms of my haptics and my body language, somebody else ranked you a little bit differently. And guess what, that’s fine, because there’s no perfect score to communication. What there is, is a perceptual gap and now we can have healthy dissent about what would have been more effective communication within that context. So that’s our way of doing that. How do you think we can tap More? Hey, man, come anytime we’d love to have you’d have a blast.


Dr. Todd Kashdan  54:46  

What are you having? You don’t need guest it just I’m just listening to you. I mean, this I mean, it sounds like an amazing workshop. What I love what you said, which is really, I mean, there’s a lot of pieces that I like besides like, you want the the simulations have to avoid With sufficient physiological arousal and distress as if you feel you are in fight or flight mode, and if it doesn’t do that it’s just an intellectual game and will not represent anything you will do in real life. But the other element, which is so important, this perceptual gap piece is you have to force people stop treating as if Did you win or lose when you did the simulation? Did you fail? Or did you succeed or happen? Everything is this jagged profile of dimensions. And I love what you just said, is like, Okay, you could have been lower than you wanted to on assertiveness, but you might have stood your ground. And actually, you have a natural tendency to retreat when you experience a high level indignation. And you showed a behavior that broke your typical pattern of how you respond in stressful environments. And so in that case, what a great building block to build on for changing your default response when you experience anger and irritation that happens there. So forget the assertiveness, you, you are stopping the typical default avoidance response. Amazing. 


And to get that kind of feedback, you can’t just have like a checker and x and you can’t just be told you’re good your bed. And the way that feedback is operating with so many people communicate, we’re not designed for having, you know, 1000 people that are listening into our conversations and providing feedback, when we get all that information, and we miss all the nuances, and all we hear is, did I succeed? Or did I fail to happen there and with that, it’s really hard to learn without your profile is going to look something like this. Like you’re 70% unloving, other people, you’re 60% loving yourself, you’re 80% of being flexible and situationally aware, you’re 40% on playfulness, you’re 70% on creativity, and then you’re 50% on dutifulness and conscientiousness. Nobody, like aces out on all those dimensions. And the more dimensions you bring in, the more that you can appreciate. This configuration is what makes you like an amazing contributor to society. So really take in the terminology and what these dimensions are. So you can see yourself with that real complexity. And don’t put all of your cognitive eggs in one basket where you’re vulnerable to some unfair, unjustified strong negative feedback that says you’re lesser than because that’s not how you should ever be evaluated as a kid. And it’s not how should ever be evaluated as an adult in terms of these complex environments.


Brett Bartholomew  57:30  

Well, and that’s why I wanted to get your take as an expert in this right, because, you know, you hear a lot of people talk about creating healthy dissent, crossing more wires to create more sparks. But oftentimes, what we’ve seen in management culture is, you know, it’s like these one to one talks with the boss or 360 reviews, and we like those things just don’t work. And I can say that because me, like many other people listening have been a part of organizations that have tried this. And really people, you know, they don’t say what they mean. They don’t give you clear, you know, feedback, anything like that. And one quote that coincides with this before I asked, the main question is, from your book you had said, I can say whatever I want to whomever I want in any way I want is highly problematic. But political correctness is equally problematic because it stifles debate, society benefits, when well intentioned, hum3orous, notice something dysfunctional, and nonsensical in any corner and poke fun. So whether we’re looking at anybody like Dave Chappelle getting tackled at the Hollywood Bowl, or leaders feeling like they can’t say what they want to say to Little Jimmy, at work, because it’s just like, you know, they don’t know how to construct the right environment to have this kind of healthy dissent. I look at you and think like, how do we do this? And in one’s a meta question, how do we do it? Big picture? How do we do it in the workplace? To tackle any of those we want? Because I just feel like, nobody knows what the hell to say anymore?


Dr. Todd Kashdan  58:51  

Yeah, no, no, this is the greatest time to ever be alive. And it’s the most scary social time to be alive in terms of the possibility of being rejected a negative evaluated disproportionately for your behavior. So both of those things are true about our current environment. So let me go two different avenues for interventions that are easy to implement. So they’re called wise interventions, because they’re low cost. They’re built on a natural psychological mechanism. There’s evidence to back them, one of them is spend time and it could be a one pager that people get before they do meet together as a group that explains these are the values that we have. So you might say, while we’d like having a team that people that like each other. In this meeting, we’re not concerned about positivity. We’re not concerned about cohesion. We’re not concerned about harmony. This is what we’re concerned about as a premium, critical thinking, autonomous thinking, independent thinking. And the incentives are if the group does better, here’s what rewards you get. We’re not interested in star players right now of who has the you know, the will really want the golden ticket idea that comes there, you can’t just say that once. This is what these big tech firms do in Silicon Valley that has to be repeated has to be habitual. And you know, having a piece of paper, having people open up their phones and listen, open the PDF, and I want you kind of like those Docu signs that you get where you have to kind of put your initials in everywhere, when you get a some contract is you have to read it. And you can’t go to the next one until at least 10 seconds past to make sure that you read it again, because I want you to live and embody that before you go in there. And there’s so much work showing that when you emphasize critical thinking and independent thinking that you get people to be more willing to dissent. 


Now there’s a couple of add ons to that. One is brainstorming is really effective leader to get the initial ideas, the bizarre, weird idea ideas that could get you crushed, because you’re afraid to say them, you have to collect them anonymously, you have to not be having people to hunt down who they think said those things. Because you want to make sure that the most socially attractive person in the room, the people that people want to win their affection, they want to be invited to lunch to be with them. It’s not just the CEOs and the CFOs. It’s just whoever’s, you know, the Fonzie or, you know, or the Pamela Anderson in the 1980s in the room that you want to win their attention.  if they speak, people are going to weight their ideas as better. And a horrible proxy for creativity is that you’re likeable, you’re popular, you’re attractive, you’re extroverted, right. So to avoid all of those bad proxies, which is permeating and poisoning organizations and groups, collect information anonymously, and then work with the ideas, and then make sure that there’s opportunities for co creation. So as opposed to making star players, it’s not like the dissenter found the hole in the system. And now that the hero there Ruby at the end of the movie, and everyone’s at Notre Dame is lifting them up, you know, above and taking huge, you know, video footage of them, it’s that you set the conversation in a better direction. Now everyone’s taking their Lego blocks, mixing them in with your Lego blocks, the former Lego blocks set with the Star Wars Lego box set with the matrix Lego blocks set, and the final creation might look nothing like the original dissenting idea. But what it is, it’s a deviation from what you’ve been doing previously. And you’re thinking that maybe there’s a better way, there’s always a better way. The only question is, is the juice worth the squeeze? Is the extra effort for changing worth these extra improvements, but there’s always opportunities to change to improve fix?


Brett Bartholomew  1:02:41  

Yep, no, I think that’s helpful add. Like, we have a really big dilemma right now. And the fact that I want this to be a three hour interview, but in the spirit of co creation, I’m going to give you two options to splinter off into and I like I want to be honor your time, but there’s still a couple more questions I have for you. And so we can go two ways with this. Todd, right pressures on. When we think about this, we’ve talked a lot about descent. And with that we could go so much further, I you know, just with what you said right there on a brief kind of like note to the side is, I always think of this concept of eco tones, right? We know there are species that do really well in certain environments, and others that thrive and others and what they found now is when they start to diverge or converge rather a little bit, you create more adaptable organisms, I mean, bottom line, right? And then they’re saying that now we live in a time where you can almost apply that to sociology, socio atones, right, which is what we get when we have harder conversations when we adapt our communication style when we get out of our neighborhood and all those things. So I don’t want to undermine the importance of everything you’re saying in terms of like, people just have to be willing to look at this more globally look at themselves more critically and think of these things. I think the one another area within your book, and I kind of already highlighted it. So option number one. Okay, option number one, I gotta find it outside because I had to take a note. It was when we were talking about political correctness. And it’s this idea that like, you know, if you look at comedy what you like comedy, I should ask this first. I should do like,


Dr. Todd Kashdan  1:04:09  

Oh my God. Oh, I mean, this is a New Yorker. I grew up at Carolina as a kid


Brett Bartholomew  1:04:14  

okay, but this will really answer like what are your thoughts on George Carlin good or like a top five or no?


Dr. Todd Kashdan  1:04:20  

Right that’s so funny because in the last question, I was gonna make a reference to I think the your George Carlin was amazing at pointing it at the foibles of natural norms do people fall and one of my favorite bits of his which gets less attention was it talks about airplanes, and it just talks about who the fuck doesn’t know how to put their seatbelt on on an airplane? Like why are still today 2022 People are still teaching me how to put my seatbelt on and spending. So you have three minutes. You have the complete captive audience in a plane. What do you want to teach them in those three minutes? It can’t possibly be the seatbelt it can’t possibly Plus, we’re all waiting there restlessly beforehand where you can give the entire message before you get on the plane that happens here. So George Carlin would have great bits of pointing out like problems in society. And he’s just, and there’s an interesting thing about George Carlin as well is that somehow this speaks to the cultural problems of today. Because he’s not alive. And there’s a little bit of temporal distance. He has a resurgence, where people love George Carlin now as much as they did in the 1970s. It’s sort of like he’s untouchable. Because you can’t troll him. He’s not alive. But he’s saying similar things to comedians, now. 


Comedians took the exact same lines, Carlin, It would be cool psychology experiment, take the lines, people don’t know Carlin stuff too. Well, a lot of people say the exact same things, and you will see great vitriol at them. But if it’s attributed to George Carlin, people are accepting of those beliefs. And if you have that attitude, where the if the same point is said by someone in a wheelchair versus someone able minor is someone who’s 15 years old versus someone’s 85. And it shapes someone who’s white and someone that’s black. And if that if the idea, the process the product, you treat it differently, because of the difference in the demographics, living or dead in history, that tells you something, there’s something wrong with your culture about being accepting and permitting about divergent thinking, 


Brett Bartholomew  1:06:28  

Oh, no question. I mean, listen, when I first started talking about communication, I had people that thought I had lost my damn mind, because I just switched up, you know, everything, like our focus now is on power dynamics and human interaction. And I’m sitting here, you know, there’d be times I’d present on something. And when you’re in front of your own audience, early days, and you’re kind of changing your thought, you have some people that kinda like, you know, there can be people that are competitive against you. It’s kind of like comedy in the 70s, right? every comedian thought every other comedian sucked. And if you got on Johnny Carson’s couch, they hated him more. 


And It’s always interesting. Like if I spoke to other industries, cool if I spoke to a certain subset of my industry Ah, right. But you know, Gregg, Popovich could have came in and basically given nothing scientific, nothing practical, good, and just told stories about the NBA in five minutes. Oh, my God, this is the best. Or you know, I always say I tell my wife, I hope I don’t. And this is not meant to be like rude. This is just anybody that listens, and actually knows what I’m trying to say gets this. I say, I hope I don’t have dead rapper syndrome someday. And she goes, What do you mean, I go, Well, it’s that thing where like, there are certain musicians or rappers that have passed and nobody really, like paid that much attention to their music beyond a point when they’re alive. But when they’re dead, they’re like the best ever. And everybody’s got it. Right. I go, I have this feeling that some of the things I say, like nobody will listen to until like, I’m gone. And then they’re like, Oh, it wasn’t that crazy. But you’re right. Like we just have that bias of like, 


And then Carlin man, I just part of it was his delivery to not just how observe it. And by the way, you’ve informed what question I’m gonna ask you next, just by that diatribe of comedy. But on the airplane, I mean, do you remember when he would say, you know, I hate when they say, if there’s a change in cabin pressure. He goes, What you mean is if the roof flies off, and he goes, in that case, it doesn’t matter how you put your mask on. But a 


Dr. Todd Kashdan  1:08:11  

good impression. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:08:12  

Thank you appreciate it. I’m very weird. So, like, we see that there are certain populations now that it’s like, you can’t joke about them anymore. And you and you had mentioned it becomes harder to joke about anyone without causing offence. Perhaps we should allow jokes about minorities for the sake of a thriving marketplace of ideas. So society can continue to read the benefits of insubordination. Todd, that’s way too fancy language. What the hell are you saying? And how do you think it’s reflected in today’s society? Especially in? You know, I think humor is one of the highest forms of intelligence. And so what does that say about a society that can’t laugh at itself?


Dr. Todd Kashdan  1:08:47  

Well, I mean, just think about what its utilitarian regime leaders do. So if you have, you know, if just think of genocide in Rwanda, think about Russia right now think about Malleus China, what’s the first thing they do? They get rid of the gestures. They’re the first people to go to get rid of the satirists. It was about seven and a half years ago, where Charlie Hebdo you had this shooting, because, you know, a bunch of Danish cartoonists drew a picture of Mohammed and you’re not supposed to draw an image of Mohammed. And, you know, I mean, they were they were pointing out the problems, the dysfunctions in this religion and if you have a system, an ideology that is over 2000 years of age, you’re gonna have some problems in there and you should kind of recognize it that listen, you need a satirist to point this out. if you have a belief system that cannot be satirized right now, not I can, I can honestly say that there are problems that you are not paying attention to. 


So, you know, if you go into, you know, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matters. You go into, you know, whatever the hell that the right Conservative Movement is doing, I’m not sure what the hell they’re doing. All they know is they’re destroying society, the insurrection that goes in there, if you can’t do People can’t realize the absurdity of what they’re doing that’s happening there. It speaks to not the polarization, I think that gets too much weight. It’s the intolerance. It’s the intolerance. It’s the intolerance, that your idea is the only path. As you said before, you know, there are multiple roads road, if you think that yours is the only way. And then you’ve nailed down Genesis all over again, like you’ve written the manual for how to do things, you, I know that you’re wrong. So it’s essentially, one of the greatest indicators that you should be skeptical is the level of certainty that people have about their beliefs about when it comes around human behavior, because human behavior is so contextualized and complicated. And so what I was saying about humor, in terms of its importance, is it allows you with a less physiological arousal to poke the bear about where the problems in the system are. And, and so, you know, in my classroom, but it was before this Roe v. Wade leak by the Supreme Court, I tried this thing, I tried this idea of, hey, I want you to imagine in the next five minutes, I’m going to bring somebody in  it’s a very liberal leaning school. And my job’s is to make people think one of the best compliments I get from my students is, I have no idea where you stand politically. And I said, I’m going to bring someone in five minutes, who is pro abortion. And what I want you to test with is, you don’t have to agree or disagree with them. See if you can describe their perspective better than they described it after they tell their story. And they leave.


Brett Bartholomew  1:11:37  

That’s a great that that is, I hope everybody listening rewinds that five times. I love it, keep going. So I just I think that’s a huge 


Dr. Todd Kashdan  1:11:46  

yeah. So it’s so like, I want I want that woman to act when that woman to hear the conversation afterwards and say, Oh, damn, I wish I described my story as well, as you guys. Did. I really appreciate that that happens there. And I said, Any questions before we start? It got so heated, that we couldn’t even do the simulation. And it was, but there’s actually a meta element. It’s almost like a Christopher Nolan film like Inception. There’s like, you know, the dream within a dream within a dream. So then we had an even better conversation about why didn’t that work? And it was an amazing conversation. And people were saying, here’s the stumbling block, I couldn’t get over. Like, here’s like, I can’t handle the idea that someone would disagree with this issue. I said, hey, when you graduate, so then we got to have a conversation. Let’s play with this. When you graduate, and you get a job, the dream job that you want to what percentage of the people at that dream job? Do you think I disagree with you on this topic? But you’re never going to have that conversation? Do you think it’s zero? They say, Oh, no, it’s probably like 20%. Okay, are you gonna quit? Are you going to interact with them? And if they’re helpful to you, and they collaborate with you, and you get along, and then you find and then you find out, what’s your attitude going to be? So we kept going down these conversations about, the timing element of discovering that someone’s gonna have some belief that rubs friction with what you believe in. And if we can get past the initial a thumbs up or thumbs down to someone’s belief, and start playing with again, go back to jagged profile, that person that screws with you on this topic has a number of strengths, and a number of skills and a number of historical background stories that are going to be so valuable to you, damn on you, if you can only constrain them down to this one thumbs down on this one topic, when it’s going to be like a 700 page book just to describe their belief system. that’s what we’re doing now.


Brett Bartholomew  1:12:20  

And it coincides with something that we see as the most impactful thing that we try to do at our workshop, which is if you’re role playing, you have to play the opposite role, sometimes, and you have to and what we say is don’t cheese this, because that’s like going in with a bad sparring partner, when you’re preparing for a title fight. I don’t care what you believe. And you owe it to that person across from you who came to this workshop as well, to get after it a little bit. And so you have to actually take a hard stance for something you might not even believe it and that’s the sad thing, right? When people can’t just disconnect a little bit from from their emotions just to think about possible What if adjacent scenarios because everybody thinks they know what they would do? And how many times do we have to relive these and I don’t care. We’re not we don’t need to get into discussion about poor design and all that. But the Milgram experiments, this Stanford experiment, I mean, people I love when people say I’d never do that I really, really you know, and you mentioned Christopher Nolan, I say this time and time again. That’s why one of my favorite movies the dark night, because you grow up, Batman’s good guy. But in that movie, Heath Ledger’s Joker makes a lot of sense. Batman’s always got one rule right one rule I’m not going to kill I’m not going to do this. And Joker just keeps pushing them and pushing them and how many people die obviously in this believe universe, just because Batman doesn’t flex and does it he allows this person to go do what they want. And and the Joker it just says all it takes, you know, madness is like gravity, it just takes a little push. 


And the whole point there right is he represents some form of chaos. And our full character is represented in how we deal with chaos. But if you stay in your safe space all the time as you allude to, right, like if people stay in their safe space all the time, they’re not going to evolve, they’re not going to adapt, they’re not going to be able to handle the adjacent possible. And at that point, good luck with life, because life is a big sense of improv. So I don’t know. I mean, I just I love it about your work. I know it’s confirmation bias. But I think at this point in time in society, it’s hard not to get behind people that say, just think a little deeper, get out of your comfort zone, maybe embrace a little chaos. And guess what you might realize that you didn’t go there because you might find some things you didn’t like about yourself. But those things are the things that can help you evolve and become something completely different. Because there is that equal finality. You get the last word and then I have one dumb final question to ask you. And then we’ll let you go because I want to keep talking to you.


Dr. Todd Kashdan  1:16:04  

Damn you busted out one of my favorite words the English language equifinality. you are Yeah. If I was single and gay and 18 this would be just I mean, that’s the word equifinality.  one of the things about that Batman story which resonates is you know, there’s a lot of quotes about Gandhi to people post around, but one of the ones that they forget, and this is my version of Gandhi’s quote is, try peace. It’s the best approach to take. If you have sufficient level of violence towards you, and your loved ones and your nation, sometimes violence is necessary. And some people don’t like to hear that. Now, if you talk to people in Special Forces, if you talk to people in the military, they get it. And I think the problem is, you know, with a Teddy Roosevelt kind of nod, an insufficient number of people have been in the arena, and really experience what it’s like to experience adversity, and really sit with it. So you’ve had adversity, but to sit with it and kind of feel like, what’s that doing to me? What does it make me want to do and you realize, you have to expand your psychological toolkit, even if you don’t want to use it habitus psychological armor when someone tries to use their psychological toolkit on you. And that’s why you do need a little psychopathy. And you do need a little bit of selfishness and active elitism. And you do need a little bit of narcissism. You know, we don’t have time to talk about it. But if you talked about the athletic greats, you know, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki. These were people really high in narcissism, that were really fun. And it seemed like really fun, you know, soft natured guys, when they were being interviewed, but they were very high narcissism. They knew what their strengths were, they worked harder than everyone. And that’s the key element. Know your strengths, own them, love them, have a little bit of narcissism, but earn, your share of the rewards, because you keep on putting more, effort and practicing than everybody else


Brett Bartholomew  1:18:05  

spot on. And you know what, we’re gonna have to sell our books as a bundle, because my next book deals heavily with that. And it’s just yeah, I think that you bring such a valuable and applied perspective. I want to thank you for that too, because you get tired of hearing people maybe talk a good game, but really a lot of the things that they espouse are management tees, or they kind of live in just the world of right. Yeah, man. Sounds good. Don’t know how I can apply it. Everything you’re saying can be applied from the daycare teacher that watches our two year old to Special Forces to everybody in between. So I thank you for that. Where Dr. Caution Can we go to support all of your work, I know your books are available worldwide via Amazon. But if you want to put on your website, everything guys, make sure you support our guests. They give up their time and energy to give you the best of what they got. And then some So Todd, let us know where we can get


Dr. Todd Kashdan  1:18:54  

you. You’re so nice, you’re such a gushy, soft natured guy. You probably get very good male hugs and you would not


Brett Bartholomew  1:19:02  

No patronizing pats I hate ya know,


Dr. Todd Kashdan  1:19:05  

don’t hurt me Don’t hurt me like give me some give me some dopamine and oxytocin go to It’s, the same My name is everywhere online Twitter, you know, Instagram. There’s even like a tick tock channel inspired by my 15 year olds don’t go on there. And then I have a newsletter it’s free provoked where I basically kind of share some of my thoughts of where the mainstream is getting wrong. You know in writing you know, the next article I plan to write is about this issue of insufficient attention to men’s and boys mental health and well being in society will be the next issue. So subscribe, enjoy. It’s free. I you know, I get a kick it’s what helps you wake up in the morning with something meaningful to do


Brett Bartholomew  1:19:47  

Yeah, hell yeah. And I you know, if there’s anything we can do or any of our audience can do to support you, they will and I please, some of you own the URL cathc me outside. How about that, you know, based on that, like, I feel like there’s a play there. Send Dr. kashdan and it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for letting me geek out as well. These are the conversations that I enjoy the most, and everybody listening please make sure to rate and review the episode support our guests. And until next time is the art of coaching podcast. We’ll talk to you soon

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